Written by: Ashleigh Johnson
The following is adapted from an article by OKWU alum Ashleigh Johnson, written for the OKWU Eagle. View the full interview at eagle.okwu.edu
Peggy Mills has played a central role in OKWU’s Student Development department since her arrival nearly 24 years ago. Moreover, she worked at the school before it merged here in Bartlesville – back in central Kansas at Miltonvale Wesleyan College. As the Administrative Assistant, Peggy has been involved in countless changes throughout the past two and a half decades, and has now worked for four different Vice Presidents of Student Development. She has a passion for dancing, costumes, thrift stores, and OKWU. She speaks of Oklahoma Wesleyan as, “the body of Christ and a tremendous support system for me,” throughout some of the most difficult seasons of her life.
Peggy connected with the Wesleyan denomination through her husband, Dean, who attended a Wesleyan church when they began dating in high school. After they were married, the Mills moved to Miltonvale. Peggy worked at Miltonvale Wesleyan College, an OKWU antecedent, and Dean attended school. After Dean graduated from Miltonvale in 1966, the Mills moved to California for the next 25 years. While there, Dean was a youth pastor, later got his teaching credentials, and taught for more than 20 years. In 1990, they returned to the Midwest for health reasons and Peggy began working at then-Bartlesville Wesleyan College on the first day of RA training in the fall of 1991.
Throughout all the change she has witnessed at Oklahoma Wesleyan, Peggy says, there is one thing that remains consistent:
“It’s a place that students come and lives are changed. It may look different now, but [recently] when Alex Himaya came and gave an invitation in chapel for students to raise their hands and give their lives to the Lord, I was so blessed by that. Somebody might come and look at the campus and think it’s changed and it’s different, and that’s true. But the Holy Spirit is still here and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
Eagle: What do you love most about Student Development?
Peggy: I love Student Development because it is everything outside of the classroom. It’s all the fun parts of college. I love the interaction with students over the years, and I especially, being here this long, I love hearing back from students. It’s very neat to hear about students who are missionaries all around the world or making a difference in some other way. It’s been fun being a little part of that, even if it’s as small as making them a student ID!
Eagle: What has been your most memorable experience on the job?
Peggy: There’s a story, but it’s complicated, and you just had to be there. I couldn’t even begin to tell you. But whenever I think of the quote, “Nice shoes, Peggy Mills!” I just die laughing.
Eagle: What has been your most embarrassing moment while working with Kyle White (VP for Student Affairs and renowned germ-o-phobe)?
Peggy: The famous story is when I was holding a paper for him to sign, and I blew a piece of string off of his hand – because I didn’t dare touch him. He was on the phone and I just wanted to get this string off without interrupting, so I just blew it off. He freaked out. He had to hang up the phone.
As The Eagle wished Peggy a relaxing and purposeful retirement, we asked one more question: what advice would she like to give incoming freshmen?
“Regardless of what you’ve done or what kind of student you’ve been or choices you’ve made, you can come here and have a fresh new start. People don’t know your past. You have a chance to start over and all the support in the world if you choose to use it. Get out of your room, put your electronics away, socialize, ask for help if you need it – there are tutors and mentors and spiritual help if you need it. You can grow from wherever you are, or you can really just start over and go a completely different direction.”
Oklahoma Wesleyan thanks Peggy for her faithful service to the Lord and to the Eagle family.